Teaching life skills to our children is just as important as teaching them their core subjects. I am sure that statement is debatable, but it is nonetheless, worth taking a moment to consider. A life skill that can be taught from an early age is time management. Teaching your children time management takes some effort but will help them exponentially, let me explain.
When I first read that time management was a skill issue and not an obedience issue, it really helped me with my reaction when my kids wouldn’t manage their time well. Once I knew there were steps I could take to help them with learning to manage their time, I began to take some ownership; I took a step back and started from ground zero.
When I first became a homeschool mom, I didn’t know much about homeschooling. I was previously an Early Learning Teacher, which really helped me apply the classroom management aspect to my homeschool. Other elements of homeschooling, I had to learn from trial and error – I think I am still feeling the growing pains from some of those errors.
If you are like me, I couldn’t understand for the life of me why my son, couldn’t stick to a task, took forever on a task, couldn’t do his chores right, or just plainly took forever to do ONE thing. I would have pulled my hair out if it didn’t hurt so badly, but I knew something had to give.
Before I share with you some insight on steps to take for teaching time management, I want to tell you some personal tips that worked for our family.
Routines are a life saver.
Honestly, I learned this from managing a classroom of 24 children. I would spend almost our whole first-week learning routines, rules, and guidelines. According to the Child Development Institute, predictability provides a feeling of safety for children. In a “safe” environment, children are freer to build independence and creativity. When it comes to time management, setting up a routine in your home will help.
Sleep and a healthy diet can ease many behavioral issues.
Getting children to bed at an early time, keeping sugars and red food dyes away from your kids during the school week can help them focus more efficiently. When you are trying to get your child to manage time well and finding it difficult, see if there is something you can alter in this area.
Teaching your child time management is not a “hands-off” thing.
Some children have real attention issues which will require much training on your part and guidance towards managing their time better. They will need to be explicitly taught how to manage time. They may fail, they may get frustrated but be there for them to steer them in the right direction.
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR YOUR YOUNG LEARNERS
When your children struggle to stay on task (like my son) a timer can help them stay accountable and provides them with a staying focus for a set time only. This avoids the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Use chore charts.
You can start using chore charts with your children as early as the age of three with age-appropriate chores like picking up toys. Color code the charts for each child, so younger children know they are a part of the team.
Use transition songs.
My children love music. As a prior teacher, I can tell you that most children respond well to music. When it is time to transition from one task to the next, use a transition song or play some soft music as a cue to your young one that its time to stop what they are doing and move to something else. Before you know it, your children will be reminding YOU its transition time.
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR OLDER KIDS
Develop a monthly calendar.
Starting with a monthly calendar can begin your child’s journey to time management. They can see an overview of what needs to get accomplished within the month. Add events to the calendar like sports practice, dance practice, Youth activity or Bible study days, holidays, birthdays, or whatever is scheduled beforehand. Add curriculum Test and quiz dates as well.
Develop a weekly calendar of activities and homeschool assignments.
Although this may be quite cumbersome, you will need to start with set times for each assignment. Setting time constraints on assignments will get easier as your child gets an idea of how long their lessons/reading takes. To stick to certain time frames for each assignment allows your students to self-regulate their management of time. From the monthly calendar, have your children count backward from quizzes or tests to make time for studying on their weekly schedules.
Work with your students for a few weeks while they are getting in their routine.
Try to go over your child’s weekly and monthly schedules with them. Guide them through to what is the priority and what can be tweaked. Teach them to break large projects into smaller tasks for manageability.
Allow for downtime.
A full schedule will drive anyone mad. It happens to us even. Remember to be flexible and allow your children time to be children. If they have chores as part of their daily routine (which they should), have a set time for the chores and even set a timer to 30 minutes or 1 hour for their chores only. It can be the difference between being something they dread or just another part of the routine.
A great place to start your children with learning time management is with Homeschool Planet’s Lesson Planning and Home Management System. Homeschool Planet’s homeschool planner online is precisely the tool you can use to have your children ready for time management and the organization of their day.
You can have your home, school, and work schedules all in one place and for each of your family members, available 24/7/365. Within the Homeschool Planet management system, you can schedule classes, assignments, chores, field trips, sports practice, doctor appointments, and music classes and so much more.
Once you and your child have scheduled out the year, month, and the week in the system, your child can easily log in each day to know what they need to do that day with reminders that keep them on track.
Homeschool Planet is an extremely beneficial tool to enable your child to take responsibility and hold themselves accountable for their schedules. Homeschool Planet is the ultimate calendaring system to help your child manage their time wisely.
Time management is a skill that can be carried out throughout your child’s lifetime and provide them with the accountability they need to perform well in college and throughout their career.
Have you used any specific steps to help your children with their time management skills? Help out fellow parents and leave some tips on the comments section.
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